That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about Alabama – Arkansas, but since I posted a few thoughts prior to the game, I thought it would be worthwhile to see how those things turned out.
1) I’d like to see the Tide’s front seven defenders shut down the Arkansas running game.
- Pre-game: “If there’s a strength on this Hog team, it’s their running game led by true freshman Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams. The Razorbacks are fifth in the SEC in rushing with Collins running for 102.86 yards per game (third in the league). If you’re using this game as a warm up for the Tigers, shutting down a potent running attack is a good place to start.”
- Post-game: Arkansas was beaten so badly and was so out-manned that they never really abandoned their game plan, even when things got out of hand. Therefore, the Hogs did rack up some decent rushing totals, 165 yards on 39 attempts. But while the game was in doubt (until mid-way through the first?) Arkansas’ running game was never a factor.
2) I’d like to see the offensive line continue to mesh and play well.
- Pre-game: “If there’s one huge question mark on the Tide team – again, heading into LSU, it’s the offensive line. Chad Lindsey is filling-in well at center and right tackle continues to see a platoon of Austin Shepherd and Grant Hill. The OL has taken longer than I expected to settle down this year, so I’d like to see another good effort from this group.”
- Post-game: No sacks and no penalties and 532 yards of offense means the offensive line must have done something right. Even though the competition was sub par, it was nice to see a good performance from the OL.
3) I’d like to see T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake hold onto the football.
- Pre-game: “Yeah, yeah. I know we shouldn’t talk about the fumbling too much so we don’t start messing with these guys’ minds, but the truth is, they are fumbling way to much for our liking. I’d like to see a turnover free game from these two.”
- Post-game: No problems here.
4) I’d like to see more of Amari Cooper.
- Pre-game: “‘Bama has a deep stack of talented receivers. But Cooper is different talent-wise than most of the rest. Cooper won’t likely be needed to beat the Hogs by himself, but it would be good to see him have a big game and come out of it no worse injury-wise.
- Post-game: Cooper led the Tide with three catches for 65 yards and one touchdown. I think he’s feeling a lot better.
5) I’d like to see the young secondary play well.
- Pre-game: I’m not sure if reinstated safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will play much or not and, for the record, I’m not sure he’s even needed for the game. But the defensive backfield – though it’s very talented – is still somewhat of a work in process. I’d like to see them come out of this game with more experience and no more blemishes – like last week’s blown coverage that gave up a shut out.
- Post-game: A devastating injury to Vinnie Sunseri forced Clinton-Dix into heavy playing time and he performed well and grabbed an interception. Youngster Cyrus Jones also hauled in an interception and overall the group played well while limiting the Hogs to a 7-for-25 passing night with three interceptions.